A micro air vehicle (MAV), or micro aerial vehicle, is a class of Miniature UAVs that has a size restriction and may be autonomous. Modern craft can be as small as 15 centimetres. Development is driven by commercial, research, government, and military purposes; with insect-sized aircraft reportedly expected in the future. The small craft allows remote observation of hazardous environments inaccessible to ground vehicles. MAVs have been built for hobby purposes, such as aerial robotics contests and aerial photography.
In January 2010, the Tamkang University (TKU) in Taiwan realized autonomous control of the flight altitude of an 8-gram, 20-centimeter wide, flapping-wing MAV. The MEMS Lab in the TKU has been developing MAVs for several years, and since 2007 the Space and Flight Dynamics (SFD) Lab has joined the research team for the development of autonomous flight of MAVs. Instead of traditional sensors and computational devices, which are too heavy for most MAVs, the SFD combined a stereo-vision system with a ground station to control the flight altitude, making it the first flapping-wing MAV under 10grams that realized autonomous flight.